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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

City of Orillia Tackling Winter Snow Maintenance With New Equipment & Staff

Orillia | by Matt Sitler  

Winters in Orillia have become more unpredictable...

New equipment and staff are helping the City of Orillia battle winter this year.

Winters in Orillia have become more unpredictable, with an increased mix of snow and rain and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles, resulting in the need to adjust the City’s approach to winter control.

Mayor Steve Clarke says the new weather systems have seen Orillia’s average snowfall rise from 8.9 feet over the last 100 years to over 12 feet in recent years

Improvements made to the City’s winter operations include:

• Two new plows.

• Two new sidewalk machines.

• A new Business Improvement Area sidewalk machine.

• Increased fleet replacement and the addition of four full-time employees to the Roads and Storm Division

• Increased concentration of salt percentage in sand mixture to reduce the overall snowpack on roads.

• Allocated additional staff to the night and afternoon shift, which is the best time for snow removal due to the no parking restrictions being in effect. 

As the City replaces or builds new sidewalks the city is adding cement pad bus stops so they can be plowed.

“Throughout the winter months, City operations staff work diligently around the clock to keep our roads and sidewalks up to standard," says Andrew Schell, Director of Environmental Services and Operations.  "There are some simple things that residents can do that go a long way to help us complete our jobs in a timely and efficient manner including not parking on the road overnight and keeping sidewalks clear. That said, most of all, please be patient – we are coming,”  

Help the City this winter by keeping the following things in mind:

• Avoid parking on City streets as much as possible. If you park on a street or in municipal parking lots between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m. you will get a ticket or be towed.

• Don’t block sidewalks with your vehicle and keep sightlines clear. Vehicles parked in the boulevard must be at least 1.5 metres back from the sidewalk and at least 1.5 metres back from the roadway.

• Don’t push snow to the curb; instead, try to distribute it to the centre of your property or right-hand side.

• Do not put your garbage, recycling and compost on the road; put it back in your driveway.

• Make sure sump pumps are not discharging onto sidewalks and roads as they create icy conditions.

• Educate children not to build snow forts near the road or sidewalks.

• Wear appropriate footwear to meet the challenging winter conditions.

• Be patient. City operations staff work 24/7, but it does take time to get around to the 504 road lane kilometres and 120 kilometres of sidewalks within the City. 

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